In the last one hundred years the Titanic has become the most famous ship in history. There are several reasons for this fame which refuses to diminish. Its sinking in such dramatic fashion just a few days into its first voyage, the fanfare the ship enjoyed even before its launching, the tragic loss of so many lives, and finally the successful efforts to locate the sunken ship and retrieve some of its artifacts.
And certainly Hollywood has done its part with the production of the many cinemas that told the story. The movie '"Titanic", which has engrossed audiences world wide and continues to do so, was only the newest to capture the tragedy on film.
Now in Southern California people can experience close up just what the Titanic actually looked like in its luxurious drawing rooms, dining areas and cabins. It is Titanic, The Experience, now to be seen in Buena Park which carries one through the ill-fated ship's history.
Upon buying our ticket we were handed our White Star Line Boarding Pass for the R.M.S. Titanic. Then greeted by Emily Goldsmith, our ship stewardess, who had a charming British accent.
The first exhibit shows the shipyard where the Titanic was built as well as principals of the White Star Line, the designer and shipyard builder. Then about the maiden voyage that began on April 10, 1912 and some of the prominent passengers aboard. It was a voyage that lasted only till 2:30 a.m. on April 14. There is an exhibit of a first class stateroom as well as one of third class with its bunk beds.
Here we were met by Maid Marie Pandell, dressed as she would have been going about her duties aboard ship. In character her name is Elizabeth Dondell and again with a British accent.
Then we moved into the room that showed how the ice berg loomed ahead and was struck by the ship despite efforts to avoid it. Here First Class Stewardess Violet Jessop, real name Kelsic Matttecos, described the scene that followed and a huge real ice block, that one can touch, dramatizes the event.
We were then seated in a replica of one of the lifeboats which held 64 people. Unfortunately there were not enough life boats for all aboard. The result was 705 saved and 1523 people lost. The loss of the Titanic was so dramatic that afterward vessels were required to have enough lifeboats for every one aboard. Another rule required passenger ships to sail a more southerly route across the Atlantic to avoid ice.
Another room shows plaques and photos of some of the people aboard, who they were and why they were traveling. Some of those saved and others lost. Some prominent in society others just ordinary people going about their lives.
You move into another room that takes you to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean showing in quite dramatic form how the ship is viewed as it rests on the sandy bottom of the sea as well as some artifacts that have actually been recovered from the Titanic.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and thought it a worthwhile experience. The Titanic Experience is located at the former Movieland Wax Museum, 7711 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. For more information on hours and tickets check the web at www.titanictheesxperience.com.
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